What is modern slavery?

Modern slavery is where workers are exploited for the commercial benefit of others. This is more common than you may think; with many cases happening behind closed doors.

Modern slavery sees vulnerable people forced to work by traffickers or exploitative employers for minimal earnings. Modern slavery exists across many sectors, and organised crime groups are constantly working their way into businesses. The Office for National Statistics shows that in England and Wales, there were 5,144 modern slavery offences reported to the police during the year

ending March 2019.

What are the dangers of modern slavery?

Modern slavery can have serious impacts on businesses, whether they know it exists in their workforce or not. Here are some of the ways companies can be affected:

  • Reputations can be tarnished
  • Quality of work can be ruined
  • Investor confidence is minimised
  • Businesses can face fines or be shut down
  • The risk of terrorism is increased

How does it affect the security industry?

In the security industry, a company taking on a forced labour victim may face several negative impacts. One issue involves outsourcing labour as it can increase the risk of modern slavery when due diligence is not conducted. Competing on wage rates often means contracts can be passed from sub-contractor to sub-contractor, imposing the risk of labour being illegally paid or involved in modern slavery. Clients are unlikely to know who is on-site as victims are unlikely to hold the right documents so it’s important to have rigid screening & vetting procedures to support compliance and prevention. Conducting full due diligence on supply chains and service providers can help reduce the risk of modern slavery entering the security industry.

Signs of modern slavery

It’s important to understand the signs of modern slavery, so the appropriate action can be taken if it happens. Potential signs of modern slavery include:

  • An employee is unable to provide documents
  • Hesitance is shown providing personal information
  • Showing signs of domestic abuse
  • There are inconsistencies in their story
  • Showing signs of injury, malnourishment
  • Appearing scared and untrusting
  • Showing signs of psychological trauma

What do Expeditious Services do to protect our businesses, clients, and supply chain?

Our screening & vetting is accredited to BS7858, minimising the risk of modern slavery coming into our workforce. To highlight modern slavery before it’s too late, we require certain documents and have set procedures including the following:

  • UK & EU national identity check using SafeCheck & CreditSafe
  • Proof of address
  • Photographic ID check / Proof of identity (on a video call to check against documents)
  • SIA and other job-related license checks
  • Proof of right to work in the UK
  • DBS, CTC & SC checks (at the start of employment, and then annually)

Supporting victims and businesses

Modern slavery is a social issue very much coming to the forefront. There is an increasing amount of support for victims and businesses alike.

One great example is Unseen, a UK charity that supports modern slavery survivors with safehouses and practical and emotional support. If businesses introduce employees to the Unseen modern slavery & exploitation helpline, it can help exploited workers speak up to fuel change.

There are also organisations that help businesses work towards a slave-free supply chain, such as Slave-Free Alliance. They provide services like investigation, crisis response and tailored training. Slave-Free Alliance works with many well-known companies to help protect their reputation and support exploited workers.

You may also enjoy reading about supporting officers with invisible illnesses.